10 Reasons to Visit Sutton Harbour this Summer

No trip to Plymouth is complete without a visit to Sutton Harbour and here’s why…

Nestled at the heart of Britain’s Ocean City, this vibrant, and scenic harbour destination offers something for everyone – especially when summer comes around. With a rich heritage, bustling cobbled streets and a busy dining scene there’s plenty of fun to be had. Here are out top-ten reasons to visit Sutton Harbour this summer.


1. Rich History

Sutton Harbour is steeped in history and the neighbouring Barbican has plenty to explore too. Walking along the cobbled streets and glancing around at some of the area’s historic buildings will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Be transported back to Plymouth’s origins as a bustling maritime hub at the same time as enjoying today’s laid back harbour destination for visitors, pleasure boats and fishing.

The area is filled with stories of explorers, naval battles and old merchants meaning it’s the place to be if you have an interest in history. Check out the Elizabethan House and the Mayflower Museum to learn more about this fascinating centrepiece of Britain’s maritime history.


2. Mayflower Steps

One of the most iconic landmarks in Sutton Harbour is the Mayflower Steps which play a part in the history of the area. This site marks departure from Plymouth of the Pilgrims who sailed to America aboard the Mayflower in 1620. As the harbour looks a lot different now to how it would have back then, the steps celebrate a pivotal moment in the formation of the ‘New World’ if not being the exact point where these intrepid traveller stepped aboard their vessel.

Visiting these steps offers a poignant glimpse into a pivotal moment in history. Visitors can stand under the archway, looking out across the Plymouth Sound, taking the scale of the Pilgrims’ epic voyage and what followed after landing in their new-found home.


3. Prime Location

Another great thing about Sutton Harbour is its prime location at the heart of Plymouth. The gateway to the Plymouth Sound, you’re also incredibly close to Plymouth Hoe, The Barcode leisure complex and the city centre.

Sutton Harbour is easily accessible and serves as a perfect starting point for exploring the city. Or it’s a great place to wrap up a busy day in the city by winding down with dinner and drinks along the water. Whether you arrive to the city by car, train or boat, you’ll find Sutton Harbour is conveniently located and makes the ideal destination for both day trips and longer stays.


4. Sutton Harbour Marina

Sutton Harbour Marina is a five Gold Anchor awarded marina and the most sheltered in Plymouth. People sail from far and wide knowing that their vessel is safe behind protective double lock gates providing shelter from extreme weather.

If you’re a boating enthusiast, Sutton Harbour Marina is a high-end facility offering excellent amenities and services. It also provides easy access to the rest of Sutton Harbour’s amenities and further afield into Plymouth’s city centre. Even if you’re not sailing in, it’s enjoyable to take in the marina’s scenic views and catch a glimpse of the boats coming in and leaving the harbour.


5. Great Dining Options

If you’re a foodie, you will love a visit to Sutton Harbour. There are plenty of dining options, spanning various countries and cultures from cafes to pubs and restaurants. Many offer waterfront views and those that don’t aren’t far at all from the water’s edge. If you’re visiting to enjoy some fresh seafood, look no further than Rockfish or The Harbour as well as plenty of other fish and chips shops.

Looking to sample some international cuisine? Stop by Supha’s Asian fusion street food restaurant, The Greek for authentic Grecian food or The Stable for a little taste of Italy. Alternatively, try a local speciality flavour sweet treat at Roly’s Fudge or head to Plymouth’s Gin Distillery for a taste of well-crafted gin.

Whether you’re looking for a casual bite or a fine dining experience, Sutton Harbour has something to satisfy every palate.


6. Events Calendar

Sutton Harbour is a hub of activity, with a packed events calendar throughout the year. From the lively Seafest to Pirate’s Weekend and more, there is always something exciting happening.

These events are a great way to experience the local culture and regional organisations as well as meet new people and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.


7. National Marine Aquarium

Sutton Harbour is home to the National Marine Aquarium which recently won the Gold Green Tourism award for its efforts towards sustainability. As the UK’s largest aquarium, they are also home to the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

As well as having plenty of interesting exhibits to see, they also have their own busy events calendar for visitors. From sleepovers with the sharks to feeding the giant turtle, it’s not only a great day out but a way to make some great memories this summer.


8. Plymouth Boat Trips

Explore the stunning coastline and waters around Plymouth with Plymouth Boat Trips departing from the Barbican Landing Stage near Sutton Harbour. Various types of tours and cruises are available from scenic sundown cruises to interesting tours offering visitors some insight and a unique perspective of the city. Their fleet of boats can also be booked for private charters and special occasions or big groups. Plus, they also run the occasional themed or party boat trips with some suitable for adults only or just the kids.


9. Shopping & Boutiques

Sutton Harbour and the neighbouring Barbican is a haven for shoppers, with its array of independent boutiques, shops, and galleries. Search second-hand or seek out a Plymouth-related gift to commemorate your trip. You’ll find local crafts, home accessories, jewellery and more. Strolling through the shops on Southside Street is a delightful way to spend an afternoon.

Plus, Plymouth’s city centre is less than a 15-minute walk away where you can find local high street stores as well as all the brands you know and love in Drake Circus shopping centre.


10. Art & Culture

Plymouth’s art scene is prevalent across Sutton Harbour and the Barbican with various art galleries, street art and cultural events to check out. Whether you’re visiting local artists, contemporary exhibition spaces or admiring the art all around, there is plenty to inspire and captivate.

Further afield, The Box museum also hosts plenty of interesting exhibitions featuring art, history and more. Plus, it’s free to enter and just a short walk from Sutton Harbour.


Sutton Harbour

Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour is a great destination to visit in the summer – but also all year round. Its rich history, prime location and diverse attractions make it a must-visit spot this summer, offering a delightful experience that will leave you wanting to return again and again.

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